Chair’s Message

A Message from the Chair

We have a saying in the Biology Department: “For Biologists, the Study of Life is a Way of Life.” While students in our department can expect to receive a strong theoretical foundation of scientific theory and concepts, the biology faculty prides itself on giving students a rich laboratory experience. The department also offers students a host of field opportunities ranging from excursions to Costa Rica and San Salvador to afternoon trips to our on-campus arboretum.

Alumni frequently enroll in graduate programs at prestigious universities such as Yale and Dartmouth where they report that their preparation at Eastern is second to none. Eastern students end up in careers in a rich variety of occupational fields: genetics, dentistry, medicine, optometry, veterinary science, ecology, plant biology, marine biology, biotechnology, and science teaching.

As a department within a liberal arts university we believe that the in-depth study of a major discipline is an integral part of a liberal education. In addition to preparing our graduates for careers in the life sciences, our primary goals are:

To promote a greater appreciation and understanding of the Earth’s life forms.
To cultivate a sense of intellectual curiosity about life processes.
To improve student understanding of how science works by providing curricular experiences that illustrate how knowledge is acquired.
To provide opportunities for students to improve their communication skills through oral presentations and written reports.
To encourage higher-order thinking by challenging students with assignments and experiences that promote creativity, integration of information, and synthesis.
To promote independence, self-discipline, and critical thinking through opportunities for independent research under the oversight of an individual faculty mentor.
To maximize our students’ career choices by providing opportunities to develop the analytical skills and technical expertise valued by today’s employers and professional/graduate programs.
Sound exciting? This website can help you learn more about our department and the programs we offer. Check it out, and come visit us in person!

Dr. Elizabeth Cowles
(860) 465-4385
Science Building, Room 361

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You can learn about Biology by listening to someone talk about it.  You become a Biologist by doing it yourself.

Dear Students:

Thank you for your interest in the Biology program, here at Eastern.  If you are still trying to decide which school you would like to attend for the next four years, I would like to remind you of some good reasons for picking our program.

Eastern is a completely undergraduate program.  That means all of the resources are there for your use.  There is no competition with graduate students for facilities or access to the professors.

Classes are small, never more than 48, and upper-level courses are capped at 16.  You get maximum one-on-one interaction with the professors.

The professors teach all of the courses and all of the laboratory and field exercises.  They are not taught by graduate students, who may have little background, or interest, in teaching undergraduates.

Every course spends at least as much time in the lab or field, as it does in lecture.  That means you get real “hands-on” experience, not just hearing someone talk about it.

We have a brand new building, with the latest in equipment.  This is all for undergraduates and you are encouraged to make use of it.

We strongly encourage students to engage in independent research projects.  Working closely with a faculty member, you are able to gain practical skills seldom possible at large institutions.  Such experience is of enormous value if you plan to go on to graduate or professional school, or to work as a laboratory or field technician.

Please discuss these points with your family, your teachers, or your school counselors.  If you would like additional information, feel free to contact me by phone or email.  We strongly encourage you to visit and spend a day in the department.  You may sit in on classes and labs, and talk to students and faculty about the program.

We certainly hope you seriously consider our program, and decide what will serve you best as an undergraduate interested in pursuing any aspect of Biology.

Yours sincerely, 

Elizabeth Cowles, Biology Department Chair